Overpaid and in the classroom

6th April 2001 at 01:00
There will be much uncontrolled whooping in the nation's staffrooms with the news that a teacher has been crowned "The Magnificent One".

Christopher Sivewright, a 45-year-old business studies teacher from Oxford, was one of seven contestants in Radio Five Live's version of the TV hit Big Brother, set in a Norwich bed and breakfast. One contestant a day was thrown out of the guesthouse, based on how many listeners agreed with their views in daily debates.

In a nail-biting April Fool's Day finale, Mr Sivewright used his well-honed pedagogical skills to beat an estate agent from Fleet to the coveted title, surely bringing much-needed prestige to his profession.

Mr Sivewright's lustre may, however, b tarnished by the main reason for his appeal to the public: his belief that teachers are overpaid, not underpaid.

He said: "They are guaranteed at least 12 or 13 weeks' paid holiday a year. That works out at about pound;700 or pound;800 a week. Some people finish about 3.30pm which means, pro-rata, they are on pound;1,000 a week! They are monitoring classes where exam standards have fallen, which means the academic side is easier."

Presumably Radio 5 staff didn't choose Mr S - currently concentrating on supply teaching and tuition - by chance. He made the tabloids when he complained that one of his students passed A-level business studies without taking the course, causing early revision of the syllabus.

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